How to Conduct a Dynamic Risk Assessment

A dynamic risk assessment is a continuous process of observing, assessing and analysing a live environment to identify hazards and risk of harm. While lone working, a dynamic risk assessment allows employees to identify a potentially dangerous environment or situation, and focus on reducing known or suspected risk factors. Here are some simple tips to remember during a lone working visit:

Assess at the door

Before entering a client’s home, assess their emotional state. Look out for signs of:

  • Distress
  • Aggression
  • Drug or alcohol influence

Also observe the physical environment, are there any:

  • Obstructions
  • Slippery surfaces
  • Trip hazards
  • Animals/pets

Exit strategy

Upon entering an environment, take a note of all exit routes and any obstructions to a clear path. Staff should also:

  • Be alert to warning signs – e.g. a negative shift in body language
  • Be aware of their own body language and non-verbal cues – to avoid escalating the situation
  • Place themselves in a position to make an escape – i.e. not in a corner
  • On entering a conned area or room, check how to operate the door lock – in case they need to make an emergency exit
  • Be aware of items that could be used as a weapon – including those that belong to them

During an incident

It’s important to remain calm and focused during an incident in order to make rational judgements. Don’t forget physical security measures:

  • A personal safety device to raise an alarm
  • Triggering a panic button
  • Calling for assistance from nearby staff or security guards

Lone workers should be able to consider all the facts to make a personal risk assessment and, therefore, a judgement as to the best course of action. This may be to continue with their work if it is safe to do so, or to withdraw and leave immediately.

At no point should the lone worker place themselves, their colleagues or the service users at risk or in danger.

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